15% Predict vacant properties for the next academic year
Report Highlights Increasing Demands from Student Tenants
A survey among student landlords and letting agents reveals that 15%1 fear they won’t be successful in letting all their properties by the start of the next academic year – an added concern for the sector, which found itself at the heart of political debate this General Election. Student demands on accommodation are also rising, piling further pressure on to landlords and agents.
A new report, What Students Seek,2 compiled by Glide Utilities found that while three quarters of students are satisfied with their shared accommodation, this figure has been in slow decline year-on-year, and 66% of students have experienced problems with the way their property is managed.
What Students Seek was compiled in March 2015 to discover how and what students look for when it comes to their accommodation. The report reveals common themes to help landlords and agents make small changes that will improve the market appeal and value of their properties, and ensure they attract the best tenants year after year.
Increasingly students are looking for more comfort when it comes to private rentals. Well over half, 61%, want double beds, and a third have also highlighted their desire for ensuite bathroom facilities. Aside from this, practicality governs the majority of their decisions. Fast Internet access is by far the most popular item on their wish list: 83% highlight this as something they look for, while good storage, 72%, is the second most popular response. While adding an ensuite is a costly exercise, buying additional cupboards and making sure you have good broadband coverage is not, and can be organised relatively quickly. If space allows, double beds are also a wise decision and can help sway student votes.
The Price is Right
Money is always an important factor when it comes to students choosing accommodation. It’s therefore important that landlords and letting agents price their properties competitively. The report revealed that across the country the average weekly rent for students is £95, which remains at the same level as 2014, The good news is that almost half students, 49%, think their weekly rent represents good value for money, however, 37% disagreed. Landlords and letting agents should keep up to date with typical local rents and market their properties accordingly.
Location, Location, Location
The research revealed that students prioritise their studies over socialising. For those considering acquiring more student properties, they should be mindful that over half, 55%, say it’s very important to be close to the university; 31% highlight the need for good transport links; a further 13% are looking to be in a well-populated student area; while just 9% called out ‘good access to bar and clubs’ as a very important factor.
Make Their Lives Simpler
Over one in ten students, 12%, have been left to pay someone else’s bill. Arguing over bills can happen in shared accommodation and can easily be avoided, One way landlords and letting agents can help tenants is by offering all inclusive rates. 74% of students rate inclusive bills as either an essential or important factor when choosing a property and 58% believe that broadband should be included alongside other utilities as part of their inclusive package.
59% feel positive about the way their property is managed, however 66% admitted they have experienced problems at some point. Some of these problems could be resolved quite simply and without expense. For example, one of the biggest issues is ‘lack of communication’. 29% of students said that their landlord or agent not communicating was a problem they’d experienced. A fifth, 21%, also called out intrusive or unannounced visits and inspections as an issue – something that could easily be rectified by informing tenants beforehand. 39% highlighted a lack of response on maintenance issues, and 28% said poor property upkeep was an issue.
3 the Magic Number
More students live in groups of 4 or 5, than any other numeration. But while students tend to share in these numbers, they would prefer to be living in smaller groups. Three is the magic number when it comes to shared households, with over a fifth saying they wanted to live with just two other tenants. Over half, 59%, also said they were after a large and functional communal room. If living rooms have been converted to make an extra bedroom, and the property is struggling to fill, it may well be worth converting it back to a living room.
James Villarreal, CEO at Glide Utilities said of the findings; “The secret to gaining student appeal in 2015 is definitely ‘more is more’. While the majority of students are satisfied with their accommodation, we can’t ignore the fact that this figure is gradually falling. This isn’t because conditions are slipping, necessarily, but that student expectations are rising. We’ve seen this in our own business and have made changes to keep attracting more customers. Our findings highlight exactly what students seek, when it comes to private rented accommodation, and will help landlords and agents make the right practical, changes, without breaking the bank”
For more press information please contact Shelley Doyle or Chevi Davis, Present PR.
- Results taken from the annual Landlord Report, which includes findings of a survey of 191 landlords, letting agents and private hall managers, investigating changes, trends and perspectives on the student rental market today.
- Results taken from a survey of 714 students in March 2015. Research was conducted by Accommodation for Students and was nationwide.
Notes to editors
- Glide is a utilities and service provider for shared households. Founded in 2006, Glide was the first company in the UK to offer multi-tenant billing, taking the headache and financial risk out of bills for people living in shared accommodation. Glide’s mantra is bills made simple, life made simple. They exist to take the pain and stress out of utility bills, so letting agents, landlords, and tenants have more time to do the things they love.
- Glide is recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing businesses, having entered the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 in late 2014, and has achieved several accolades for achievement: notably, Best Business Award for Innovation: Best Business Awards 2014.
- accommodationforstudents.comis the UK’s leading student accommodation website. Founded in 2000 by Simon Thompson, the site has gone from strength to strength and now attracts over 3 million visitors each year. There are over 770,000 students registered with the site and around 20,000 landlords and letting agents with active accounts.